Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pro-Choice TDs to vote against abortion bill

Statement – Abortion Bill – 10 July 2013 - immediate release

Pro-choice TDs say they have been forced to oppose abortion Bill because it criminalizes women and is unnecessarily restrictive

Bill will not prevent another death like Savita Halappanavar
Restrictions will cause doctors to delay terminations – putting women at risk

Pro-choice TDs this evening declared their intention to vote against the Fine Gael – Labour abortion Bill.

Clare Daly said:
“In the absence of a referendum to repeal Art 40.3.3 of the Constitution – for which we call – we were willing to support legislation in line with the X Case Ruling of 1992. This Bill however, will put more obstacles in the way of access to life-saving abortions than are required by the Constitution. This legislation is happening in the wake of the sad death of Savita Halappanavar. Yet the Fine Gael – Labour Bill, by defining and giving legal protection to 'unborn human life' from the moment of implantation until delivery, will not prevent similar deaths. It will make terminations illegal during an inevitable miscarriage while there is still a foetal heartbeat. If a woman gets an infection in such circumstances, doctors will have to delay a termination until her life is at risk. This was what happened to Savita Halappanavar – and the same could happen again under this Bill.”

Richard BoydBarrett said:
“Defining the 'unborn' in this way – for the first time in Irish law and unique in Europe – also excludes fatal foetal abnormality as grounds for abortion. This will force women whose pregnancies will inevitably end in tragedy to go full term or travel overseas for terminations. Yet none of this is required by the X Ruling or the Constitution. It is a pandering to those who oppose abortion on any grounds – and who are prepared to see women die rather than allow life-saving terminations. It is particularly galling that Labour are promoting this as a Bill that will protect women's lives, when it will do nothing of the kind. It is doubly ironic that they are supporting this reactionary Bill having opposed the Daly Bill on grounds that it was not sufficiently radical.”

Joan Collins said:
“Abortion will remain a criminal offense under this Bill, with the threat of a 14 year sentence for women and their doctors – including women who use abortion pills. Combined with the new requirement on doctors and hospitals to justify their decisions for terminating a pregnancy, this will put pressure on doctors to delay terminations until there can be no dispute that a woman's life is at risk – by which time it may be too late.”

Mick Wallace said:
“For women who are so desperate that they would consider suicide rather than continue an unwanted pregnancy, the Bill will compel them to an examination and assessment by at least three practitioners and possibly six. This includes an obstetrician – who has no training in assessment of suicide risk. The government's own Expert Group Report said a maximum of two doctors was enough. Yet Fine Gael and Labour are putting obstacles in the way of despairing women, forcing overseas those who are able to travel, in order to placate the anti-abortionists in their midst and the anti-abortion minority in Irish society.”

Luke Flanagan said:
“The government says the Bill brings clarity for women and doctors. But that 'clarity' spells out the a woman's life must be at risk before a doctor can intervene to terminate a pregnancy even where the demise of the foetus is inevitable. The perverse requirement in 40.3.3 that a doctor must allow a medical condition that is not in itself life-threatening – such as inevitable miscarriage – become potentially lethal before they can perform a termination, is unnecessarily retained in this Bill.”

Joe Higgins said:
“The Bill makes no provision for abortion to protect a woman's health, or for cases of rape and incest, or where a woman regards it as being in her best interest to end a pregnancy. We will be calling for the repeal of this Act, and for the repeal of Art 40.3.3 of the Constitution to provide for the needs of women in Ireland for abortion services to be available close to their homes.”